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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

About Joy Piedmont

Joy Piedmont is a librarian and technology integrator at LREI - Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School. Prior to becoming a librarian, Joy reviewed and reported for Entertainment Weekly’s PopWatch. She reviews for SLJ and is the President of the Hudson Valley Library Association. When she’s not reading or writing about YA literature, she’s compulsively consuming culture of all kinds, learning to fly (on a trapeze), and taking naps with her cat, Oliver. Find her on Twitter @InquiringJoy, email her at joy dot piedmont at gmail dot com, or follow her on Tumblr. Her opinions do not reflect the attitudes or opinions of SLJ, LREI, HVLA or any other initialisms with which she is affiliated.

Nonfiction Roundup Part One

Just as this has been a year of grief and tough topics in fiction, nonfiction has been similarly focused on emotionally draining subject. (Or perhaps it’s my personal exhaustion with the state of the world combined with the difficult reads? Hard to say.) Today Sarah and I are reviewing two very different books about the fight for racial equality. Ann Bausum’s book is a straightforward historical account of a protest that took on a life of its own while Loving Vs Virginia is narrative nonfiction using poetry and primary source material. What are the chances that either of these will turn up as contenders this winter?

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The 2017 National Book Award Shortlist

Screen Shot 2017-10-04 at 10.39.17 PMThe National Book Award shortlist is here and across all of the categories 15 of the 20 nominated authors are women and in the category we really care about here at Someday, all of the finalists were written by women!

Here are the five nominees:

What Girls Are Made Of by Elana K. Arnold

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

We were already planning to cover the Benway and Zoboi. With this announcement I’m excited to move Elana K. Arnold and Erika L. Sanchez’s books on to our review schedule. The description of Clayton Byrd sounds like a middle grade so I’m not sure if it has any young adult crossover appeal, but I’d love to hear from someone who has read it. Personally, I’m surprised and a bit disappointed that Angie Thomas’s brilliant The Hate U Give didn’t make the shortlist, which was my favorite of the ten longlisted novels but this is a great group of books. Of the five finalists, which book are you most excited about? Tell us the in the comments!

 

We Are Okay

We Are OkayWe Are Okay, Nina LaCour
Dutton Books for Young Readers, February 2017
Reviewed from ARC
Four stars

I almost didn’t finish We Are Okay. Not because it’s bad–in fact, it’s quite beautiful–but because reading it required a lot of emotional labor. When fiction pokes at pieces of your heart that you thought you had protected and hidden away, it requires strength and stamina to push through when all you actually want to do is bury the book at the bottom of your to-read pile.

All of this is to say that I had a deeply emotional experience reading Nina LaCour’s novel. Critics, myself included, tend to separate heart from head in their professional reviews. Here though, LaCour’s ability to access and communicate so many raw and complicated feelings is extraordinary and so relevant to any discussion of this book. I couldn’t have cried through the last 40 pages of We Are Okay without LaCour’s precise and detailed sentence-level writing. This is a small book densely packed with complicated people, feelings, unimaginable loss, heartbreak, and so much love.

Spoilers ahead. If you haven’t read the book (and you really should) consider yourself warned.

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At the Edge of the Universe

At the Edge of the UniverseAt the Edge of the Universe, Shaun David Hutchinson
Simon Pulse, February 2017
Reviewed from ARC
Two stars

2017 is zipping along at a brisk pace and it’s hard to believe that it’s already time to talk Printz. This time last year, I was reviewing Shaun David Hutchinson’s We Are the Ants. Hutchinson’s latest, At the Edge of the Universe is a spiritual twin to his previous novel and today we’ll see if it has what it takes to be a Printz contender.

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We FINALLY have a Pyrite slate!

pyrite 2017Believe it or not, we started our Pyrite voting eleven days ago. We have finally, FINALLY reached the end of the road though and we have a Pyrite slate!

If you’ve been playing along from the beginning, you know that The Passion of Dolssa emerged victorious from the two rounds of winner voting. After the first round of honor voting, The Lie Tree had a runaway lead over the rest of the books vying for honors, six of which were too close to call. And now, we have three more to add to our slate:

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Pyrite: Here We Go Again…

You asked, so we’re going for it! Let’s take one last crack at the honor vote because we’re clearly a Pyrite committee that needs help to make up its mind. As Karyn noted in the results postThe Lie Tree has a huge lead over the other titles which is no surprise considering how close it was to winning the Pyrite.

Screen Shot 2017-01-18 at 6.39.57 PM

Points spread for the first round of honor voting.

A second honor vote including The Lie Tree is likely to yield similar results with a significant lead for that almost-Pyrite winner so we’re removing it from the equation for this round (because this is our mock process and we want answers!). Since there are three Pyrite honor spots left, only the following books will be eligible:

We Are the Ants
Still Life With Tornado
Female of the Species
Scythe
March Book 3
The Sun is Also a Star

In the previous round of honor voting, We Are the Ants has only 6 points more than The Sun is Also a Star. That means we have six books that are too close in consensus (number of voters) and passion (first and second place votes) to declare three definitive winners. (If you’re interested in the previous round’s point spread, take a look at the image above.)

Voting will work similarly to last round but remember, do not list a fourth book! Other things to keep in mind:

  • Voting will happen in the comments.
  • You may only vote for three of the six titles listed (above).
  • Votes are weighted, so number them 1-3; pointing is 5/3/1.
  • You can vote for up to 3 books but don’t need to vote all spots; however, you can’t skip spots (so if you only vote for two books, they get 5 and 3 points, respectively).
  • We recommend voting BEFORE looking at any other responses to avoid the temptation to do math and strategize — because the RealCommittee can’t, so it’s maybe a little bit like cheating?
  • Polls will stay open until Thursday early afternoon, with the goal of posting results that evening or Friday morning, just in time for everyone to be in Atlanta and way more preoccupied with Monday’s YMAs.

Thanks for playing; we’ll see you in the comments!

Readers make the case for their faves

reader-review-300x227 copyIf you’re a regular reader, you know that we’re constantly asking for your opinions, picks, and predictions. You’re our weather vane, out in the world bringing us vital information about books that have flown under our radar (or ones that we simply haven’t had the chance to read). And as a mock committee, we’re not too bad at predicting the titles that show up in the winners’ circle on ALA YMA morning.

Karyn, Sarah, and I get to bring our “nominations” to our virtual table every week, so just before Thanksgiving we asked, what would you bring to the nominating table? We know each of you has a favorite contender and we wanted to know more! Many thanks to readers Meghan, Beth, and Soleil who graciously answered our call. We’re happy to share their “nominations” after the jump.

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Nonfiction roundup, part 2!

nonfic 2It wouldn’t be January at Someday without roundup review posts galore! I’m nothing if not a stickler for tradition so we’re rolling into hump day with three nonfiction books covering three very different subjects: a man whose story might as well be myth, a complicated and unpopular war, and a pacifist turned spy. If there’s any thread connecting these three books it’s perhaps that none have been short listed for the YALSA nonfiction award, which demonstrates the depth of quality nonfiction for young readers we saw in 2016. With no shot at the nonfiction award, do any of these (appearing below in order of author’s last name) stand a chance at the Printz?
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Lucy and Linh

 Lucy and Linh, Alice Pung
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, September 2016
4 stars; Reviewed from an ARC

Lucy and Linh, in addition to being a quintessential coming-of-age story, is a novel about power, class, and racial microaggressions. It’s about the hard work of adjusting our sense of self when we land in an unfamiliar environment and it’s about finding peace through that process. Alice Pung delivers these themes in a package of well-paced narrative, lovely descriptive writing, and an earnest (although occasionally sardonic) voice.

If you can’t tell from that intro, Lucy and Linh is one of my favorite books of 2016 and a very strong contender for the Printz.
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A romantic rendezvous

romance-roundupActually, this is a romantic roundup, but rendezvous sounded catchier. In the context of Printz reviewing, romance has actually fared well in recent years with both the RealCommittee and the Pyrite Committee (aka: all of us). I’ll Give You the Sun was the Real and Pyrite winner in 2015, and in 2014 Eleanor & Park was a Real and Pyrite honor.

This context is important because it’s proof that professional readers are recognizing straight-up romances that are also literary. Today, Sarah and I are looking at three books that may (or may not) have what it takes to bring love back to the winner’s circle.

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